Immigration Department implements measure to deter abuse of arrangements for premature termination of contract by foreign domestic helpers

30 August 2013

A spokesperson for the Immigration Department (ImmD) spoke in response to the public concern earlier on the abuse of the arrangements for premature termination of contracts by individual foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) (job-hopping).

Clause 12 of the Employment Contract for a Domestic Helper Recruited from Abroad provides that in the event of termination of the contract, both the employer and the FDH shall give the Director of Immigration notice in writing within seven days of the date of termination. A copy of the other party's written acknowledgement of the termination shall also be forwarded to the ImmD. These records will be kept and taken into account by the ImmD in considering any future application made by the FDH for employment visa or extension of stay.

Under the prevailing policy, change of employer applications from FDHs within their two-year contract in Hong Kong will not normally be approved except under exceptional circumstances, e.g. if the FDH's contract is terminated on grounds of the transfer, migration, death or financial reasons of the ex-employer, or if there is evidence suggesting that the FDH has been abused or exploited. If the FDH wishes to enter into an employment contract with a new employer, he/she must leave Hong Kong and submit a new employment visa application to the ImmD. In assessing applications for change of employer after premature contract termination, the ImmD will ensure that the FDH has departed Hong Kong before an employment visa will be issued.

"The ImmD has all along been assessing FDHs' employment visa applications in a rigorous manner. If there are any adverse records or breaches by the applicant, the ImmD may refuse his/her application. Regarding the abuse of premature contract termination arrangements by FDHs, the ImmD has adopted a corresponding measure to fortify the assessment of employment visa applications of FDHs who change employers repeatedly. Under the new measure, the ImmD will, in assessing the employment visa applications of FDHs, closely scrutinise their case details such as the number and reasons for premature contract termination within 12 months with a view to detecting any abuse of the arrangements for premature contract termination. If the ImmD suspects such abuse, the application will be refused. Also, if it is discovered that the premature contract termination is due to the employer's non-compliance with contractual terms or abuse/exploitation of FDHs, future applications for the employment of FDHs from these employers will be refused. In the past two months, the ImmD refused 45 employment visa applications which were suspected to involve abuse of the arrangements for premature termination of contract. The ImmD believes that the new measure helps deter such abuse and will review its effectiveness from time to time," the spokesperson said.